TODAY -

Mahua of MP on sale

Free Thinker *



A few days back one National Daily covered a news item saying 'Mahua to be sold'. It was really exciting to see the news, at the first glance.

Instantly my mind went wild, what has happened to Bengal ?

After going through one or two sentences, I have realised that it was not about 'Mahua' of West Bengal but 'Mahua' of Madhya Pradesh. 'Mahua' is a local liquor like our 'Yu'. Madhya Pradesh Government is so proud to start selling 'Mahua' liquor in the bars and hotels of MP Tourism Corporation.

It is also reported that the drink will be brewed in its original ways to economically empower the local tribal or natives of Madhya Pradesh. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan himself declared that it will be the 'heritage liquor'.

Self-help groups are allowed to manufacture the brew legally. They are looking for a brand name. The quality will be as good as other reputable brands, officials claimed. Interestingly 'Mahua' will be made available in 18 hotels and Bars run by the State Tourism.

I still strongly feel that we can make our 'Yu' one of the top brands . One Chemical engineer came to me some years back and said that our way of preparation is unique; our water and rice plays a pivotal role in making the brew wonderfully intoxicating. I have never tasted the local brew in my life but experienced drinkers say the kick of 'Sekmai Yu' is unforgettable.

The young engineer while leaving for the USA told me that the foul smell of 'Yu' can be dealt with effectively with some chemical compounds. Once the commercialization of 'Yu' starts we can call him back.

During the 11th Manipur State Assembly a Committee was set up to look into the issues relating to a proposed enactment pertaining to the lifting of prohibition and perhaps allowing complete commercialization of local brew and matters related thereto. Once the Assembly lapsed the Committee also automatically lapsed.

Now we have the 12th State Legislative Assembly and we hope something positive may come up regarding the same matter. Simply lifting prohibition in the State , we can easily generate 700 to 800 crore rupees in a year. Again if we can successfully commercialize the local brew , the income will be enoumous; only sky is the limit.

The commercial ventures and business opportunities that can be unfolded are unimaginable. Local brew manufacturing can be treated as an industrial venture; may be big or small. Small scale and cottage type industry will be a blessing for the local people; they can easily earn their livelihood.

And if lucky they will become rich or extremely rich. We have a general feeling that prohibition can finish the drinking habit . It is never successful anywhere in the world. Even in India , prohibition has very limited success.

Take our own example, despite prohibition the liquor consumption in the State is one of the highest (ratio wise). That means liquor is available. May be the drinkers are paying a hefty amount to get it from Black Market.

Goa has done exceedingly well pertaining to 'Ferri', their local drink. 'Feni 'is now a very popular brand, not only in Goa but also in the adjoining States. First the price is reasonable; the level of intoxication is also equally good. So, the middle class and lower class are going for 'Feni'.

Tea has also many brands of different quality. I am not very sure about the 'Feni policy' of the State of Goa . But it is certainly good for the State; a large number of people are engaged in 'Feni' business.

'Feni' is basically made from cashew. The local production can't feed the 'Feni' industry, so they import cashew from Kerala and Maharashtra. It is also a well-known fact that the visitors and tourists in Goa normally purchase one or two bottles of 'Feni' while going back.

We are really envious to see the vibrant 'Feni' economy and now the prospect of 'Mahua' in Madhya Pradesh is looming large. Our 'Yu" has more potential than these competitors, but it is still in the matrix of prohibition.

Let us lift the restrictions or ban and also allow commercializing of the brew extensively. The fear of rice shortage and apprehension of rampant drinking is unfounded rice can be procured from our neighbours including Myanmar. Drinking 'Yu' has been part of our culture and tradition.

Madhya Pradesh has made 'Mahua' their heritage drink, why can't we make 'Yu' our cultural/heritage drink. Let the world have a taste of 'Sekmai' or 'Andro' or 'Phayeng' . The logic behind the reluctance on the commercialization of 'Yu' is incomprehensible; we have missed many opportunities.

Believe me, our brand can become an international brand. Respected law makers and honourable vigilante groups are requested to kindly revisit the issue of 'Yu'. It can change our destiny. And 'Yu' may kill even the heroin.

Praying to all the Imas of Manipur for supporting the much anticipated and awaited State Government's policy on 'Yu'.

Khurumjari.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on August 09 2022 .



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